41 held for persons including women held for communal clash in Madurai
TNN | Sep 10, 2011, 05.46AM IST
MADURAI: Police have arrested 41 persons, including 22 women after a
clash broke out between the dalits and caste Hindus in Uthapuram
village, on Friday.
The village, which hit the headlines due to the 'untouchability' wall
that prevented dalits from accessing arterial streets that led to
their dwellings, still continues to be sensitive due to the friction
between them and caste Hindus. On Thursday, a caste Hindu woman tore
apart a billboard erected to mark the memorial of dalit leader
Immanuel Sekaran, leading to the clash. Police said that the situation
has been brought under control now.
Moments after the caste Hindu woman damaged the billboard erected
close to Muthalamman temple in the village, dalit youths gathered at
the spot and condemned the woman's act. of the woman.
Immediately, caste Hindus also gathered and opposed the presence of
the board, sparking tension in the village. The heated argument turned
out into a quarrel and soon caste Hindus started pelting stones on the
dalits, who then retaliated. A police constable was also injured in
the stone pelting.
Madurai Rural SP Asra Garg rushed to the spot with striking force
personnel and dispersed the clashing villagers. Though the clash was
stopped, tension prevailed in the village and about 300 police
personnel were deployed to prevent snowballing of the incident.
Asra Garg said that the situation is under control.
"We have provided tight security and conducting a detailed inquiry in
this case," Garg said. Police have registered cases against 200
persons belonging to dalits, as well as caste Hindus and have arrested
41 of them.
Police said that a few days ago, caste Hindus attempted to erect a
billboard of freedom fighter V O Chidambaram in the village to mark
his birth anniversary celebrations. However, police refused
permission. Similarly, the police also denied permission to dalits to
put up a billboard for Immanuel Sekaran's birth anniversary. But
dalits went ahead with erecting a board.
The 'wall of untouchability,' came to light in 2008 after Tamil Nadu
Untouchability Eradication Front (TNUEF), a wing of the CPM, began a
campaign to demolish the structure. Subsequently, a portion of the
controversial wall built in 1990, allegedly to prevent dalits from
entering caste Hindu areas at Uthapuram village, near Usilampatti in
Madurai district, was razed down by the district administration on May
Police said that dalits and caste Hindus were frequently clashing,
particularly on the rights over Muthalamman temple. About 800 persons
led by CPM leaders were arrested on February 1, when they tried to
enter the Muthalamman temple where dalits were prevented entry by the
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